First few Article Sentences
Small towns and rural communities have long been at a disadvantage when it comes to specialty medical care. Even when specialty providers, such as neurologists, live and work in these communities, often they are either not part of the hospital on call staff, or are unable to be on call 24/7 in addition to supporting a private practice. This places Emergency Departments and their patients at a disadvantage. It also means telehealth can be a game-changer for many healthcare organizations. The practice (also known as telemedicine) is proving cost-effective and a way to improve access to care in underserved areas. In fact, a joint Mayo Clinic and UC San Diego study has shown that with telehealth, correct stroke diagnoses are much higher, 96% vs. the 83% via telephone consult.
At California’s Mercy Medical Center Merced, where they saw 180 stroke patients during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, senior leadership and physicians have taken steps to assure area residents can count on a local medical care resource for 24/7 neurology needs. The Catholic Healthcare West facility is participating in a telehealth program using robotics and on-call neurologists in order to bring cutting edge stroke care to Merced.